2012 was the year when Samsung Electronics Co. overtook Nokia Corp. in overall handset sales and Apple Inc. in smartphones. But 2013 is shaping up to be a much more competitive landscape. Not only are low-cost smartphone makers in China jostling in to take away market share, but there will also be newcomers in the market, like Finland-based Jolla, a company formed by ex-Nokia engineers. The start-up, which opened its Asia headquarters in Hong Kong in December, is looking to launch a high-end smartphone in the first quarter of 2013. The Wall Street Journal spoke with Jolla’s co-founder Sami Pienimaki about the start-up’s expansion plans.
The following interview has been edited.
WSJ: Where does the name Jolla come from?
Mr. Pienimaki: It means a one-man sailor boat in Finnish. The idea is that there is this big sea with great opportunity. You start to sail yourself there alone – it’s a bit of an adventure and a bit dangerous, but you still want to take this adventure because you see that there is this great opportunity. Nokia was going through a massive transition in 2011 with lots of layoffs and we were able to recruit key talent including engineers that had worked on the MeeGo project. (MeeGo is a mobile operating system that Nokia was developing with Intel Corp. until the project was abandoned in early 2011.)
WSJ: How big is the company now and what are your expansion plans?
Mr. Pienimaki: We have a bit more than 50 people, mostly in Finland and two RD sites. And we are now ramping up other locations. We have a data center in Cyberport, in Hong Kong. In China, we have a sales and marketing agreement with a retail chain called D-Phone. The deal was signed in July.
Jolla’s smartphone user interface
WSJ: In addition to developing a smartphone, Jolla is also working on a mobile operating system that could become a competitor to Android and Apple’s iOS. Tell us about your platform called Sailfish.
Mr. Pienimaki: It’s an open source platform but we have proprietary elements in it. The core operating system components are very much open source. It has a full operating system and a user interface. It allows for multi-tasking.
WSJ: How do you plan to generate revenue?
Mr. Pienimaki: We want to sell Jolla-brand phones and license our Sailfish operating system so that OEMs can use the operating system. We are a challenger in the marketplace and it will take time. But there is a good opportunity with the operating system. It’s one of the few independent options available in the market.
WSJ: Longer term, do you want to be seen as a company that makes smartphones or do you want to be like Google, offering software?
Mr. Pienimaki: We understand the needs and the challenges of the marketplace and we know how to make a competitive combination of hardware and software. It’s a very challenging engineering environment and we truly understand that. By introducing a new user interface, applications and innovation through the platform, we’d be showing the way.
WSJ: When can consumers see Jolla phones?
Mr. Pienimaki: Hopefully in the first quarter of next year.
WSJ: How will you price your smartphone?
Mr. Pienimaki: It makes no sense to go to the low-end. We will kill ourselves going there. For the Sailfish operating system, it also doesn’t make sense for us. It’s a much more feasible and sustainable model that we position this as a something that is different, unique and offers scale for the users. So it makes sense to focus on the premium segment of the market. Sailfish can also be used on set-top boxes, smart TVs and in the automotive industry.
WSJ: Can you give us an update on your fundraising? Would you look at an initial public offering?
Mr. Pienimaki: We are looking at an IPO in 2013 but that’s something we’ll communicate more next year. It’s definitely an option for us.
WSJ: Where would you list?
Mr. Pienimaki: Hong Kong would be a possibility, but it’s likely that we’ll look first at Scandinavia. But it’s something that’s still under planning.
Google Play saw “tremendous growth” this year, according to a new report, which also found that developers can still succeed despite the overwhelming number of choices in major app stores.
According to Distimo’s year-end review, Google Play experienced an aggregated daily revenue growth of 43 percent across 20 of the largest countries where the store is available. Daily revenue for the Apple App Store grew 21 percent in the same period.
Still, the growth in daily revenues in the App Store was higher than the total daily revenues in Google Play when comparing absolute daily revenue values. On a typical day in November, App Store revenues topped $15 million while Google Play made just below $3.5 million in the top 20 countries, Distimo found.
In-app purchases proved to be popular, with in-app revenue jumping from 53 percent to 69 percent this year. About 35 percent of revenue from the top 10 publishers, however, still came from one-time app purchases.
Not surprisingly, some major players dominated app revenue. On Nov. 12, for example, seven apps made up 10 percent of revenues in the App Store for iPhone, while six apps earned 10 percent of revenue for iPad apps. In Google Play, four apps made 10 percent of revenue.
But despite those numbers, Distimo said the opportunity for developers is “large,” given the worldwide daily download and revenue volumes.
One big winner this year was Draw Something, which reached 9 million users in nine days. The game’s publisher, OMGPOP, was later purchased by Zynga, but the game reportedly ended up losing millions of users just several months later. Asian publisher Naver also launched five apps, one of which – Line Pop – had 1.75 million downloads in 72 hours.
In examining which gadgets people were using to download their apps, Distimo found that Russia had the highest rate of tablet downloads. About 46 percent of all iOS downloads there were done via the iPad. The Netherlands and Finland also had a high rate of tablet downloads, at 38 percent and 35 percent, respectively.
On the other end, Japan’s tablet download rate was much smaller, at 7 percent. Google Play is very successful there, as well as South Korea, where the world’s top phone maker (and Android enthusiast) Samsung has its headquarters.
Overall, the top app markets in the world are the U.S., Japan, the U.K, and Australia.
For more from Chloe, follow her on Twitter @ChloeAlbanesius.
Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2413452,00.asp
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Google Tuesday released version 19 of its Chrome browser, which includes fixes for 20 vulnerabilities, as well as a new feature for sharing open tabs across different devices. But Google said the feature won’t be widely available for another few weeks.
Google releases a new, stable version of Chrome about every six to eight weeks.
With the release of Chrome 19, Google also distributed $7,500 as part of its bug bounty program. None of the patched bugs were “critical,” meaning–per the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS)–that attackers could have potentially used them to remotely execute arbitrary code. However, eight of the vulnerabilities patched in the new version of Chrome are of “high” severity, seven are ranked as “medium,” and five are of “low” severity.
[ Read It's Browser Version Madness! ]
Six of the bugs were spotted by Google or the broader Chromium (Google Chrome OS) community. A low-risk, Windows-only “bad search path for Windows Media Player plug-in” bug was credited to Microsoft and Microsoft Vulnerability Research.
Full information about all of the bugs has yet to be released; Google typically waits to release detailed information until the majority of Chrome users have received related patches. But many of the patched bugs relate to memory errors in C/C++. Not coincidentally, Google said that a homegrown tool, AddressSanitizer, had been used by researchers to detect many of the patched vulnerabilities.
Unusually, Google also distributed an additional $9,000 in rewards to Aki Helin at the Oulu University Secure Programming Group in Finland, as well as Sławomir Błażek, Chamal de Silva, miaubiz, Arthur Gerkis, and Christian Holler “for working with us during the development cycle and preventing security regressions from ever reaching the stable channel.” All feature prominently in Google’s Security Hall of Fame, which lists researchers who have helped “make Chromium safer.”
Google software engineer and “tab-wrangling server jockey” Raz Mathias explained how Chrome’s new tab synchronization feature will work. “When you’re signed in to Chrome, your open tabs are synced across all your devices, so you can quickly access them from the ‘Other devices’ menu on the New Tab page,” he said in a blog post. “If you’ve got Chrome for Android Beta, you can open the same recipe tab right on your phone when you run out to the store for more ingredients. The back and forward buttons will even work, so you can pick up browsing right where you left off.”
Chrome isn’t the only browser now offering tab synchronization. Notably, Mozilla added tab synchronization to Firefox 4, which it released in 2010.
At this interactive Enterprise Mobility Virtual Event, experts and solution providers will offer detailed insight into how to bring some order to the mobile industry innovation chaos. When you register, you will gain access to live webcast presentations and virtual booths packed with free resources. It happens May 17.
New Delhi: Sony Mobile has announced to roll out the Sony software upgrade including the uplift to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for their 2011 Xperia smartphones.
According to Sony’s blog post, “The software will initially be made available for Xperia arc S, Xperia neo V and Xperia ray for consumers in Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland and Norway. The software roll out will continue over the next 4-6 weeks, becoming available in other global markets – we will update you here on the blog when additional markets can upgrade.”
In order to upgrade their 2011 Xperia smartphones, users will need to connect to a PC or Mac. Users are suggested to visit http://www.sonymobile.com/update and follow the instructions.
Besides, the company also mentioned that the Xperia arc, Xperia PLAY, Xperia neo, Xperia mini, Xperia mini pro, Xperia pro, Xperia active and Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman will receive their scoop starting from the end of May/early June.
However, the availability and scheduling of the software upgrade and specific models upgradeable to Android 4.0 will vary by market and carrier requirements.
(Watch CNN-IBN live on your iPad. IBN7 and IBN Lokmat too. Download the IBNLive for iPad app. It’s free. Click here to download now)
Not a member yet?